Should I Become a TV Producer?
Producers oversee the production of a television program and have many different levels of responsibilities on the set, depending on his or her skills and job level. For example, an executive producer may oversee story lines, audition actors and determine the budget. Line producers may oversee production aspects by keeping workers on schedule and finding locations to shoot scenes. Travel is often required, and work can be stressful due to constant deadlines.
Aspiring TV producers should consider earning a bachelor's degree in film and TV production, directing, communication or another related field. Professional experience in the movie or TV industry is needed. Additionally, these professionals should have creativity, as well as management, leadership and networking abilities. According to 2015 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, producers and directors earned a median salary of $68,440.
Steps to Become a TV Producer
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
While there are no specific education requirements to become a TV producer, earning a bachelor's degree is recommended. Students who want to become producers have the option to enroll in a related bachelor's degree program, such as a Bachelor of Applied Science in Film, Television and Digital Production program. This curriculum will cover all areas of film and TV production, and students can take courses in camera operation, cinematography, screenwriting, lighting, sound and editing. Opportunities will also be available to learn the different aspects of producing, including budgeting, fundraising and how to audition actors.
During a bachelor's degree program, students may be given the opportunity to create a film. Not only will they get a chance to write and direct their own films, but working as part of the crew on other students' films can provide preparation for production assistant jobs upon graduation.
Step 2: Work as a Production Assistant
The first career step for producers is to obtain related employment, such as working as a production assistant. The duties for production assistants also vary widely and may not always involve direct work on a production. For example, production assistants may be responsible for getting coffee or making copies. However, as they gain more experience and develop contacts in the industry, their responsibilities can grow on the set.
Those who want to become TV producers will want to find work as production assistants on television shows. While opportunities may be available to work on independent or feature films, finding TV production assistant jobs will help aspiring producers jump-start their careers in the industry by familiarizing them with the inner workings of a TV studio.
Step 3: Build a Portfolio of Work
The work you produce is more important that your resume. Therefore, it is vital to produce as much quality work as possible. Look for opportunities to produce in smaller markets, or lower budget productions to build your portfolio. Archive your finished work, and keep it organized and presentable in clip form to show prospective employers.
Step 4: Network to Advance Your Career
Networking can help prospective producers develop contacts in the industry. Reading scripts and attending industry events, workshops and seminars are all ways for prospective producers to begin establishing a career. Many TV production companies also promote from within, so work as a production assistant may lead to a career as a line producer and eventually to an executive producer position.
To summarize, aspiring TV producers might consider earning a bachelor's degree in film and TV production, communications, or a related field and work samples and experience are critical to obtaining employment in the field.